To be a volunteer litter picker or not?

The other day I was in effect challenged to reconsider my actions by a local resident. My action? To have ‘adopted’ the public footpath which runs from Southport Road to Coppull Road and litter pick it/cut back over-hanging foliage now and again. Indeed, I’ve blogged about this previously – here’s a link back to a posting from October 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/10/05/lydiate-coppull-road-southport-road-footpath/

I think I’ve tidied the path up 3 times now over the past year or so but the challenge is in effect to ask me not to do it as I’m giving Sefton Council the opportunity to get out of doing it. In other words we pay Sefton Council via our council tax so make them keep it clean and tidy. And from a slightly differing perspective but on the same kind of subject a Maghull resident, by coincidence, brought my attention to this recent article* in the Metro newspaper:-

Now I’m a trade unionist by instinct and I spent many years as a trade union officer in the civil service during my working years, so the last thing I would want to do is to compromise the jobs of council employees via my well intentioned volunteer litter picking activities. I hope such an approach would go for all the volunteer litter pickers across Lydiate and many other communities.

Of course we volunteers have started to litter pick because councils have not been doing the work as they once did and yes quite clearly austerity has been the underlying cause of reduced litter picking.

So there we have it. Do volunteer litter pickers stop what they are doing because a) the council is being paid via our council tax so should be forced to get on with the job or b) volunteers may be putting council workers jobs at risk? You could say that both these points could apply of course.

Like many things in life there’s no easy answer and for what it’s worth here’s my view. Sefton Council will not be able to keep this path in the condition that local residents would want to see it because it simply does not have the resources to do so. So on that basis it will only react to issues with footpaths like this when people complain and when the condition of the paths is well past acceptable to locals. It may not be how we want things to be but its how they are though.

Do I think I am putting council jobs art risk? No I don’t unless I see some evidence of this. Do I think the council will now step back in and make the work of litter picking volunteers unnecessary? No I don’t because they are struggling to pay for much bigger issues such as care for the elderly.

Click on the newspaper article to enlarge it

Note: There is a volunteer Lydiate litter picking group who travel across the Parish litter picking – I’m not a part of that group and my litter picking has been as an individual. I do support their work though.

* the article is about Leamington Spar volunteer litter pickers

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for his input into the posting

Sefton & West Lancs – Encounters on a bike ride

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride yesterday so I set off from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simmonswood, Aughton and Downholland back into Lydiate. It was a ride of just over 12 miles but quite a bit happened along the way.

Firstly, a van overtook me whilst I was negotiating the roundabout by the new Maghull North Station and the Poppy Fields housing development. To say the van was too close is putting it mildly; less than half a meter from me I would guess when the recommended amount of space to leave around a cyclist when overtaking them is 1.5m! Fortunately, the name of the firm was on the truck so when I stopped I Tweeted the Preston-based company asking them to advise their driver not to put cyclists at risk by driving so close to them.

Then I went down Spurriers Lane, which turns into Outlet Lane when it leaves Melling Parish and enters Simmonswood Parish in West Lancs. I had a brief look at the hugely controversial caravan site off the beginning of Spurriers Lane, near Carla Lane Animal Centre, and saw 4 or 5 caravans on it. My recollection is that the Champion newspaper recently reported that Sefton Council is having the landowner return the land back to its original condition as the development does not have planning permission. There was no sign of remedial works taking place.

I pressed on down Spurriers and into Outlet Lane and then a dog encounter, which I have never had before down that particular lane. I stopped a good 20 yards from the two dogs that were running free in the lane and retreated. The problem is you never know as a cyclist what dogs running free will do so its best to avoid them. Even friendly dogs can jump up and knock a cyclist off causing injury. When I stopped later for a brew in Town Green I e-mailed the West Lancs Dog Warden asking them to speak to the owners about keeping their dogs under control and I await a response. I also Tweeted the company of the too close van as mentioned above and I await their response too.

Then it was up and over Clieves Hill and what a view it was on a lovely sunny winters day. I also encountered the volunteer litter picker who often cleans up at this local beauty spot. Regular readers of this blog site will recall that I posted a while back about my encounter up there with a West Lancs Council litter cleaner who told me how bad the littering was and that there was a chap who did some volunteer litter picking. Well, I’ve now met the chap and we had a good chat about the mucky buggers who create so much mess in and around this lovely spot.

Down the hill into Downholland and I find myself approaching the Green Lane/Eagar Lane canal swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal but there were workmen on it and the bridge had clearly been closed. It soon became apparent why – one of the safety barriers had snapped off in the high winds as always seems to happen at this exposed spot. Indeed, the barrier was in the canal and was being fished out by contractors working on behalf of the Canal & River Trust. A narrow boat was waiting to get through the bridge and it was able to whilst I was there as the work had been completed and a new barrier is on order. Here’s a couple of shots of the activity around the bridge:-

Snapped off bridge barrier being hauled out of the canal

Narrow Boat at Eagar Lane canal swing bridge after bridge is reopened

Quite a lot of things going on on one short bike ride around Sefton and West Lancs.

Maghull – For all you volunteer litter pickers out there – Sunday 6th May

Meadow Community Wildflower Garden behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

merseysidenorth.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/sunday-morning-spring-clean-litter-pick.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+MerseysideNorthVolunteers+(Merseyside+North+Volunteers)

At Meadow Community Wildflower Garden – Just behind Maghull’s Sefton Drive – See link above for details

Volunteer litter picking seems to have become a big hit in Maghull and Lydiate in recent times

Lydiate – Volunteer litter pickers

Good news – A group has recently been established to try to help Lydiate deal with dropped litter and volunteers are now meeting on the last Saturday of each month to litter pick roads in Lydiate. They meet at Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane.

rsz_sefton_drive_litter_01_13

This builds on the longer established volunteer group (part of Maghull in Bloom) that has been litter picking the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal for a number of years now.

I understand that this new group of volunteers want to expand into Maghull as well but clearly that depends on volunteers coming forward.

If you want to know more/feel you can help please contact Lydiate Parish Council for info :-

Tel 0151 527 2662
E-mail lpc@lydiateparishcouncil.gov.uk

Some may see the need to do this as a consequence of austerity and the inability of Sefton Council to keep our streets clean. There is clearly some truth in this, but volunteering in your own community is worthwhile in itself and many of us do it in many differing ways. You also make new friendships and it helps reconnect folk with their own community. Please consider helping if you can spare some time.

I am especially keen to support local environmental volunteering as this is an important issue to me; its why Sheila and I volunteer with Maghull in Bloom.